Penny Dreadful Wiki
Penny Dreadful Wiki

Séance is the second episode of the first season of Showtime's Penny Dreadful and the second episode overall.


In pursuit of answers, Vanessa and Sir Malcolm attend a party at Egyptologist Sir Ferdinand Lyle's home where they encounter the mysteriously beautiful Dorian Gray. The party takes a turn, however, when renowned medium Madame Kali hosts a séance. Meanwhile, Ethan befriends Ms. Brona Croft, a young Irish immigrant.


A lady of the night, sitting by herself on a bench in the dark and reaches to consider her choice of snack, an apple, as a representation of the carnal temptation she peddles. Startled by an eerie metallic scraping in the distance, a lamp lighter is revealed, making his way down the lane, sporting a beard that would probably consume small children if they got too close. He neglects to light the lamp above the prostitute's perch and skulks off into the fog, not going far before we hear the clatter of his pole. One can barely make out a figure of a man emerging from the fog as the prostitute reacts in terror before she is forcibly parted with her limbs.

Ethan Chandler is shown waking up in the middle of a completely random location with claw marks on his hand. He walks into a nearby pub, where he meets Brona Croft, a friendly woman who claims to be a factory worker. The two strike up a conversation with Brona explaining to Ethan that her name means “sadness” in Gaelic.

After demonstrating eating a piece of bread, Victor Frankenstein gives his reanimated corpse the chance to pick his own named which is "Proteus" after a character in Shakespeare’s play The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Later, Victor leaves to meet with Vanessa Ives and Sir Malcolm, explaining to a distraught Proteus that he cannot come with him yet, but Victor will be back soon. With Vanessa and Malcolm, Victor is bade to study the body of the vampire they killed in episode one. Vanessa has removed the creature’s skin using flesh eating beetles, so now all the hieroglyphics are visible. When Victor inspects the creature’s blood, he finds that it appears to be human, but with unknown qualities. Victor advises Vanessa and Malcolm go to a hematologist.

Brona Croft arrives at the residence of Dorian Gray to pose for some erotic pictures. When it becomes clear that Brona is ill with consumption, Dorian becomes increasingly aroused. The two eventually have sex while the photographer takes pictures. Even after Brona coughs blood on Dorian’s face, he seems more amused and turned on than disgusted. Malcolm goes to the police station to speak with the Inspector there. He asks about the recent murders, offering his help with the cases. The Inspector tells Malcolm that they haven’t made much progress – too many people are coming out of the woodwork to either confess or point fingers at others – and agrees to let Malcolm into the crime scene the next time a murder occurs. Before Malcolm leaves, he ominously tells the Inspector to stop looking for a man, and start hunting for "a beast."

Victor later returns home. Proteus begins singing a fisherman’s song, and with Victor’s help, begins to remember his life before. He become wracked with guilt upon remembering hunting and killing a whale. Victor comforts him by saying that everyone does things that cause them shame. Vanessa and Malcolm go to a dinner party hosted by Ferdinand Lyle, the eccentric Egyptologist. Dorian Grey is also in attendance, and he and Vanessa share an intimate conversation. They're interrupted when Madame Kali is introduced as the guest of honor and begins performing a seance as part of the night’s entertainment. During the seance, Vanessa becomes possessed. Several spirits speak to Malcolm through her; one of whom is Malcolm’s son, Peter Murray, who apparently died of dysentery during one of Malcolm’s explorations. At one point, a spirit accuses Malcolm of having an illicit affair (with Claire Ives) that Vanessa was witness to, calling him "animal", "betrayer", and "creature."

Once the possession has worn off, Vanessa marches out of the house and into the rain. She then has sex with a stranger in an alleyway, as Dorian Gray watches from the shadows. In the morning, Brona and Ethan run into one another again at the pub. Ethan asks Brona out for dinner, and she agrees. They met Victor and Proteus on the street, Victor has decided to take Proteus to the outside world to teach about life. Proteus is enchanted by all the new things he’s experiencing, but when he sees a real life boat, he remembers his wife and realizes there’s something unnatural about himself.

Malcolm goes to Lyle’s office to ask about the hieroglyphics again. Lyle tells Malcolm that one of the hieroglyphics should not exist. The photograph appears to be Amun-Ra and Amunet in the same picture, which should be impossible according to the Egyptologist. Amunet represents everlasting life at the cost of the souls of others, while Amun-Ra is the sun, the bringer of light and creator. These two are never seen in the same depictions because bringing them together result in Amunet becoming the Mother of All Evil and plunge the world into darkness.

Victor takes Proteus home, where Proteus is pleased to be making friends like Victor, Ethan, and Brona, and happily expresses his intentions of making more friends. All of a sudden, Proteus’s body is torn in two by the hands of Victor’s very first creation, the actual Frankenstein’s monster.



Guest Starring[]


  • Amy De Bhrún as Prostitute
  • Jack Walsh as Barman
  • Michael O'Flaherty as Police Sergeant
  • Joe McAvera as Photographer
  • Paul Ward as Telegraph Clerk
  • Rick Burn as Sailor
  • Leticia Dolera as Lady at the Seance (uncredited)
  • David Walsh as Poor Boy (uncredited)


Arc Significance[]

  • Evelyn makes her first appearance in this episode, using her stage name of Madame Kali and pretending to be a hick medium she will go on to become a main character in Season 2 and that year's main threat.
  • Vanessa is possessed for the first time in the series, though it lasts only one night here Vanessa will be subject to a far more major possession in the episode Possession.
  • Ethan begins his relationship with Brona.
  • Brona's night with Dorian will ultimately lead to the two becoming lovers and partners when she becomes Lily.
  • Proteus is killed by Victor's first creation.
  • We learn more about Peter's death in the episodes Closer Than Sisters and And Hell Itself My Only Foe.